Buenos Aires is a spectacular city with an almost unlimited amount of things to do and see. It’s cheap to spend time here, and there are plenty of cool and interesting people around to interact and argue with. Although it can get a little cold in the winter (June through August), it’s worth suffering through the chill.
The city, with its majestic buildings and plazas, seems like a Vienna or Paris transplanted to South America. The center runs along Corrientes from 9th de Julio at the phallic obelisk. The crowds in Buenos Aires have their own hip fashion sense, and there are great shopping bargains. It is not hard to find a bookstore or cafe anywhere in the city. There are many newspapers and it seems like there is a heated discussion about sex, football or politics occurring at every corner. There will be protesters somewhere in the city at any time, if you are American try and avoid the ones chanting Muerte a los Yanquis!
Buenos Aires has many different neighborhoods and a cheap and adequate metro system connects them. San Telmo, centered around Plaza Dorrego, has an interesting market for old things on Sundays and is a nice place to go see performers doing the tango. It has become more popular too as a place for foreigners to live. La Boca is the neighborhood where the tango is said to have been born, and has some colorful buildings, but seems mostly like a kitschy tourist trap. Puerto Madero has a modern riverwalk and is a good place to bring a date, see a movie and have a coffee and alfajor, a sweet filled chocolate covered Argentine cake.
All through Recoleta and Retiro you can find plazas and buildings emulating nineteenth century opulence. The Teatro Colon on the corner of Plaza de Mayo is worth a visit, and you can see gigantic marble tombs of the country’s elite in the cemetery in Recoleta. On your way out of the cemetery there are some nice museums or you can just stop in at the Hooters next to the movie theater.
Palermo Viejo and Palermo Hollywood have great nightlife. A great option is to go and drink Quilmes with the young Argentines as you sit around Plaza Serrano in Palermo Viejo. This area is full of art galleries and tapas bars and makes a nice stroll in the day. At the edge of PV is the area where the transvestite hookers come out at night. Its worth a cab ride to go look at them.
Palermo Hollywood has a great variety of clubs and discos running along the streets named after Central American countries – Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua. The Argentines are like the Spanish when it comes to partying, it isn’t unusual to be heading home at eight a.m., well after the sun has risen. The city can easily turn you into a night creature if you aren’t careful.
Finally, for travelers to Buenos Aires, here is the tip of a lifetime. There is a park near the Acoyte metro stop where you can buy all the pirated material your heart desires. Vendors have binders listing entire collections of artists, movies and even software that can be purchased for as little as five pesos a disc. Why spend four weeks downloading all of Beck’s studio albums when you can buy them all for $1.50?